It is absolutely a privilege if you get an opportunity to do a road trip in Australia. One Dec a couple of years ago we decided to do a interstate road trip from Melbourne Victoria to Aidlade Barosa Valley. Having a-mature wine enthusiasts in the family, it was an indeed great idea to discover food and wine of south Australia.
I guess everyone idea of a holiday is different but no matter where you go, food and wine is an important element of the holiday. Not having to cook, and choosing from a variety of dishes cooked with great skills, with a glass of wine made with love and care, and of course not paying a bill which create a hole in your pocket appeals to a lot of families like us.
We started from Melbourne and took to the great Ocean road, enjoying the scenic drive and sleeping overnight in wornabool (Mel to GOR is about 2.5 hours, 160 KMs) Onwards to Wornabool is another 2 hours 40 minutes about 188 KMS We stayed at a motel which was comfortable for the night and we ate a lovely Thai dinner at a waterfront restaurant.
Wornabool to Aidlade is 6 hours 45 minutes. 615 KM We left early morning at about 5 am driving through Mount Gambier. We tried to have a good breakfast in a local cafe but they all open after 9 am so had to make do with Mac Cafe. We stopped for lunch on the way and reached ADL in the afternoon.
We decided to indulge in a great meal, and went to one of the local famous restaurant The Lord Lyndoc to enjoy a lovely dinner. There wine list is interesting and the desserts are a must try. I tried the Creme Brûlée Passion fruit flavoured and it was fantastic.
We met Penny Rafferty, who heads the luxury lodges of Australia for marketing. She mapped out our local itinerary and we started our wine tasting experience from Henschke . The family after which the vineyards are named has been making wine since 1862. Today Stephan and Prue the 5th generation is running it with great passion. The cellar door in Keyneton, I liked Henry’s seven 2012. You can also book a private tour and tasting at Hills of Grace Vineyard.
We had an amazing lunch at 40’s cafe for a casual lunch of Pizzas. The reviews of these restaurants were great and the food and wine was great. The ambience is quite basic. A good experience does not make a hole in your pocket.
We went to The Louise luxury Lodge. We couldn’t stay there as it was sold out. Besides, they only take kids above 10 years of age. . Appellation at The Louise in the Barosa Valley is recognised as a world class destination for dining in South Australia. They have their own herb garden and grow a lot of fresh produce. They have a high commitment to environmental and cultural sustainability, and support a lot of local farmers. Executive Chef Ryan Edward’s kitchen is so famous, people book to stay and dine almost a year in advance. A booking would be absolutely essential if you want to partake the flavours at Appelliation. The accommodation is contemporary and classy starting from AUd 600 a room. It is a luxurious base to explore the Valley.
We moved on to Peter Lahmann s cellar door in Tanunda. The vineyards are named after the local who has persuaded wine making for over 7 decades. We tried the very best from peter lehmann wines, tasted the full selection of the flagship wines, blended from some of the best vineyards within the barosa region. $20 per person. We bought a few bottles of 2013 sparkling princess muscato.
The best kept secret is the Artisans of Barosa, tasting room which is considerably small, overlooking the flowing hills with a stunning sunset view. The name is appropriate as all the wine makers, who have been in the industry producing great wines, 7 wine makers have now created their own wines which are not mass produced, but made with passion, love and care.
Artisans of Barosa was originally formed in February 2006 with a desire to chart new ground in wine styles and flavours, enhancing the region’s reputation for hand-crafted excellence while also acknowledging the contributions of previous winemakers.
The wine tasting session was the best for us here. Many of us did not have great knowledge or experience in wine tasting and the staff was very helpful in answering our questions and explaining details to us. Yes we shooed more here, as though we were going to fill the cellar in this one trip to Barosa. I highly recommend this place as it is small and beautiful, more for individual travellers and small groups, no group tours here I suppose.
Next day, we ventured to meet with Mark who has been running the tours to Adelaide’s famous Central Market.
Mark Gleeson, team guide coordinator, is also a… Retired Chef and great home cook ,a much loved attraction in the heart of the city.
The largest fresh produce market in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 80 specialist Stalls and the most visited tourist destination in South Australia with over 1.3 million visitors per month. This is south Australia’s Gourmet Mecca with 80 stalls in this covered market. You can sign up for a cheese appreciation class, or attend a local Chefs cooking demonstration.
I was taken aback to see the passion of some of the stall Owners, as they had left their lucrative successful careers in other fields to pursue their passion which is food related. Be it making Cheese or growing and pressing Olive Oils. I have never done Olive Oil tasting and it was a great eye opener to understand how Olive oil is pressed and what factors influence the taste and flavours. We tasted a few varieties of Olive Oil with pieces of bread. Of course moving on to The Smelly Cheese stall we the best part. The flavours and techniques involved in making those blocks of cheese and the stories Mark would tell us were simply amazing. Of course we would have been at that stall forever, but we had the pull of coffee and chocolate stalls to discover ahead. OMG the chocolate flavours were to die for. Death by chocolate was right there.
The International influences of cuisine and ingredients are great, you can be spoilt for choice. We all debated and finally ended up at a Moroccan stall buying our packed dinner of Humus, Olives, Pita breads and Falafel’s We drove away feeling short of time even after spending 4 hours with Mark understanding the stall owners’ passion behind their craft and dedication to their culinary skills which is the core of the central market. The tourists from world over, and the locals who support this thriving food mecca, need to be applauded for.
We drove back from the inner route Highway 1 staying overnight at the Border town which is half way between Aidlade and Melbourne. The 3 indulgent days, would lead to many hours of trying to burn the calories, but the taste of Australia, Taste of Aidlade will remain in our thoughts for a long time to come.